Have you determined who your “avatar” is? 

In business, your “avatar” is a representation of your ideal customer, your dream client, your target audience, your tribe. These are the people you are trying to connect with through your company!

When it comes to marketing your business, it’s essential to realize that you can’t be all things to everyone. If you try to market to everyone, you’ll find that you’re actually not connecting to anyone. For this reason, you must direct your marketing toward a specific niche audience.

Years ago, I read a book called “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a Small Market” by Susan Friedmann. What I learned in this book was instrumental in my decision to start a website for moms in my local market. Once I determined who my audience (avatar) was and created a niche, marketing became easy. If your business is to go-to for your niche audience and can help them solve a problem they have, you’ll see success.

I launched a website for moms that, in just one year, had over 100,000 moms visiting it each month. If I had tried to just target women, it would’ve been tough to stand out because I would’ve been competing with every magazine, blog and website for women out there. I decided to niche down to target not just women, but moms. Not moms across the country, but moms in my local market of Tulsa. There weren’t any other websites for moms in my market, and moms  were more likely to join because everything on the website was local and pertained to their world. Thinking back, the avatar I was going after was actually me — a Tulsa mom — which made the marketing simple. I was bringing together a likeminded audience, a passionate niche — moms looking to connect with each other and to their local community. By asking myself questions like, ‘Where do these moms hang out?’, ‘What are they interested in?’ and ‘What problem can I solve for them?’ I was able to create a website that would be useful and informative!

It’s essential to identify who your dream client is — the person you’d love to work with. When you’re defining who that person is, you need to get really specific. What is their age? Sex? Income level? Geographic area? What do they like and dislike? Where do they hang out?

You want to work with people who set you on fire and make you feel passionate about what you do! We all have clients who we love to work with and could talk to all day. So, think about an audience that you’d like to serve — who would be interested in your product or service in the area that you’re an expert in? This group of people is your tribe.

Another one of my favorite marketing books is “Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers Into Fanatics” by Jackie Huba. This book tells the story of Lady Gaga and the marketing machine behind her brand, and it’s a perfect example of identifying an avatar and going after it. Lady Gaga turned her followers into loyal fans by building a grassroots social media campaign and pursuing her avatar — people who felt like misfits and didn’t fit into the mainstream, just like her. She named her tribe “Little Monsters” which made them feel like they were part of an exclusive group of people just like them. Instead of competing with every other new artist out there, she developed a personal brand: standing out from the crowd as a misfit and owning it. Looking at Lady Gaga’s story and the massive success she’s had, it’s apparent that you can be so much more focused on your marketing when you’re directing it toward your niche.

As you’re identifying the niche audience who you want to buy your product, you should also hone in on what problem you’d like to solve for that audience. Ask yourself, ‘How can I serve my niche?’ ‘What can I do to make their lives easier or more enjoyable?’ Find a way to serve your niche audience like no one else can!

Let’s look at some examples of big companies who identified their niche audience and provided them with a unique product or service!

Facebook launched as a highly-targeted niche service: it started as an online site for Harvard students to make connections and share photos. After experiencing massive success on Harvard’s campus, Facebook expanded to colleges and universities across the U.S. Decades later, they’ve expanded worldwide to include everyone. Facebook started as a small niche, and after proving their model was successful was able to expand and grow.

Another great example is Drybar. They provide affordable, high-quality, quick blowouts, washing and blow-drying their clients’ hair into a style without cutting or coloring it. They knew they couldn’t compete with millions of hair salons across the country, so they created their own niche based on a need that women had. Everyone wants their hair to look amazing, especially if they’re going to a party or an event, but not everyone can afford to make a trip to the salon multiple times a month. Drybar provides their clients with a more affordable solution to a need so many women have!

If you’re thinking about starting a business, start by writing down who you want your avatar to be! Make it as specific as possible, and do research into who those people are and what they want. Once you determine who your avatar is, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful business because you’ll know exactly who you want to buy your product or service. Now get to work!

Deedra Determan, Founder

Deedra Determan started her career working in television for one of the top media companies in the country and later became a marketing consultant in the television industry.

Determan went on to launch a niche website for moms in her local market with over 100,000 moms visiting the website each month using the power of Facebook. After one year from launching, Determan sold the website to Oklahoma Media Company, Griffin Communications. Determan went on to launch a digital marketing agency, D2 Branding – Tulsa SEO, Marketing, and Website Design that was recently recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur360.

Determan is the host of the Do It My Way Podcast Show, empowering women business owners and CEO’s to do business on their terms with no regrets, hesitation or fear. Determan coaches these women on how to create a personal brand so they can live a life of financial freedom, working when they want to work and making the money they want to make!